KNIFF is kind of an anarchy that includes everything: Sanal Kumar Sasidharan

A niche, crowd-sourced film festival, Kazhcha-Niv Indie Film Fest (KNIFF) offers an open space for the celebration of art, freedom of speech, right to dissent, aesthetic daring and experimentation, with the aim for the artist and the audience to be one and the same. 

The festival, which was launched last year, features 12 compelling films this year, as well as a bouquet of programs ranging from musical midnight discussions, speech series on contemporary social challenges, panel discussions with eminent personalities, to a painting exhibition and a unique format for interactions with the film directors. 

The theme of this years’ festival is ‘Inclusion’ and the festival was inaugurated by writer-editor Apurva Asrani, who is also an influential voice in the fight for equal rights for the LGBTQ in India.

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Apurva Asrani

Talking about the festival and its theme, one of the founders of the festival, filmmaker Sanal Kumar Sasidharan said, “For the past few months in Kerala, we have been getting the feeling that the majority decides. Even if the court rules something, if that goes against the vibes of the majority, the majority will call it off. Earlier we thought that we are all bound to respect the court orders but now, court orders are being challenged in the streets. 

“We thought Kerala is a bit progressive but with what is happening in the streets with the Sabarimala issue, and with the comments on the court order doing away with Section 377, we thought that Kerala is not that progressive, it only has a progressive image. Underneath that, we are very primitive and we felt that we need to elaborate our space…we need to have a space for all kinds of minorities and individual thought process, so that’s why we put this as the theme of the festival.” 

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Responding to a question on the hope for the second edition of the festival, Sanal said, “ We plan to remain very small. We will choose only 12 films and we need to elaborate this platform as a discussion space. There are lots of festivals for films but we need a festival for our own thought process, for our minds. The films we choose and the festival will remain as a nail so we can put all the ideas, debates, discussions, maybe a kind of anarchy that includes everything. So we plan to remain as a platform where people can come together and debate.” 

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“We don’t want to grow bigger and bigger. We plan to remain small but we want to elaborate our mindset…if you have the power to dream then you can dream endlessly. So we thought our festival should remain as a dream with a small space…We need a secular space like this. We need to create more secular platforms and invite a lot more people. Let them all come. We need to include all the other viewpoints also,” he added.

The 2nd Kazhcha-Niv Indie Film Fest is being held in Trivandrum from 7-10 December.